If you are thinking of going to truck driving school and becoming a truck driver, you may want to think about ways you can maximize income and make finding a job easier. Strategically deciding in what industry to work and where to find employment can help you make the most money in an area with a lot of opportunities.
Wages by Industry
Truck drivers, on average, make about $40,360 a year, or $19.40 an hour. The lowest 10% of earners, which might include those with limited experience or who work in certain geographic regions, bring home about $25,110 annually, or $12.07 an hour. The top 10% of earners, on the other hand, make about $58,910 a year, or $28.32 an hour. Exactly how much you could make depends in part on which industry employs you. For example, the highest-paying industry for truck drivers is electrical equipment and component manufacturing, where drivers earn $64,970 annually, on average. Other top-paying industries include transportation equipment manufacturing, couriers and express delivery services, aerospace products and parts manufacturing, and the postal service. Unfortunately, none of these industries employ a large percentage of truck drivers, with the highest being couriers and express delivery services, which still only employ 5.73% of truckers. The industries in which you are most likely to work are general freight trucking, specialized freight trucking, grocery and related product merchant wholesalers, cement and concrete product manufacturing, and other specialty trade contractors. Of these industries, you will make the most (an average of $44,400) if you work for a grocery or related product merchant wholesaler.
The states that employ the most truck drivers are Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio – all large states with large populations, so it makes sense that they would have the most truck drivers, as they probably have some of the highest level of every type of employee. The cities with the highest employment levels are also large, highly populated cities: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, and New York. The location quotient of various regions, however, tells a different story. The term “location quotient” refers to the number of people employed in one particular occupation out of every 1,000 workers. So in this case, states or cities with a high location quotient of truck drivers are areas where there is an unusually high concentration of truckers, and if you worked in this region you would be more likely to run into others who work in the same occupation. The states with the highest location quotients of truck drivers are North Dakota, Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wyoming. The cities with the highest location quotients are Joplin, Missouri; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Fort Smith, Arkansas; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Midland, Texas; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Morristown, Tennessee; Lincoln, Nebraska; Odessa, Texas; and Laredo, Texas. While you may want to consider these factors when deciding where to work, you should also keep in mind that where you work will at least in part dictate your salary. The states that pay the most to truck drivers are Alaska, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming. The cities that pay the most are Fairbanks, Alaska; Danville, Illinois; Nassau, New York; Anchorage, Alaska; Odessa, Texas; Racine, Wisconsin; Lawrence, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Decatur, Illinois; and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.